“If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.” – Thomas Edison
Who are you really?
We are all so amazing, capable, talented, and valuable. And, we often don’t realize it because: one, we define our selves by who we were in the past or based on what someone else told us about who we are; two, we don’t take the time to see our gifts and talents; and three, many of our gifts, talents, wisdom, and insight came out of our most challenging experiences and we don’t consider them successes or take the time to see the tools we gained.
It’s time to acknowledge who you are so you can bring your Whole Self to the table, play bigger, and boldly make the difference in the world that only you can make.
The following questions will help you see your strengths and open up possibilities for your career, business focus/niche, and mission.
Often in life it’s a combination of our training, things that we love to do (like hobbies or interests), education, successes, and the wisdom gained through our challenges that prepare us for sharing something of great value and doing something extraordinary with our lives.
Owing what we have and bringing more of who we are into our work helps us do what we value and are interested in, and also use our unique skills, talents, and insights. It makes our work more rich, rewarding and fulfilling, and success easier because we see that we have what it takes and we’re passionate about it.
So, here are your questions:
Looking back over your life, in ten year increments…
1. What were the pivotal and valuable experiences in your life? How did they transform you and/or your life?
2. What were your successes (and best moments)?
3. What were your biggest challenges and what did you learn from them (what skills, talents, insights, and values, etc. did you gain through those)?
Before you start – It’s one thing to make a list, to take it up a notch, tell the story. Sometimes the biggest success isn’t what we did, it’s that we even did it. It’s also the values we expressed in doing it, what we learned, who we had to be in order to do it, etc.
Here is an example from my life. I think of first time I really spoke in public. This was way before I became a coach. I’d done a lot of personal development work and someone asked me if I was willing to share my story. The first time she asked, I said, “no”. It was probably followed with a reason or just an, “I can’t”. Even the idea of it absolutely terrified me.
I thought about it and it poked at me all week. When I saw her the next week I asked her if she’d ask me again. She asked if I could be the speaker. My eyes got big and I said, “That’s not what you asked me last time.” She thought for a moment, laughed and asked, “Are you willing to be the next speaker?” I said, “Yes, I’m willing.” I couldn’t even say I “could” but I was “willing”.
There is a lot more to the story but the point is… my “speaking in public” was big and only a small part of my success. Did I do a good job, yes, but that’s still only part. The real successes show when I dig in. What that day showed me: I am bold and driven. I am courageous and will push through my fears and do what I don’t think I can. I’m willing to do what it takes no matter what. I care more about being of service than I do about my ego. And, after I shared my story, the next person who spoke said, “So, I guess the topic is gratitude”. Wow! That story empowers me. It helps me remember who I really am. It helps me stand up, stand out, and make my difference. And, when I speak now and fear comes up, based on my success, I know what motivates me and I focus on that (being of service).
Another place to look for our skills, strengths, and wisdom and what’s important and valuable to us is through our challenges and hardships.
My mom had a strange habit of leaving me with strangers, either at homes of people I hardly knew or she and I’d go out and she’d wander off to talk with others for very long periods of time. It was a bit challenging, to say the least. And, if you know me now, one of the things you might have noticed is that I can talk to anyone. Also, I’m very easy to talk to and make most people feel very comfortable.
The first skill, talking to anyone, was a survival skill… and I’m so grateful I have it even if they way it came about was very challenging. The second, helping people feel at ease, probably has to do with empathy. I know what it feels like to be very uncomfortable so I help that to not happen with others. It’s now a strong value of mine. Both of those benefit me greatly not only in life but in my business. So sometimes our greatest education, values, and skills come from the most challenging experiences in our lives.
One last thing before moving on to your questions, we often define our selves based on who we were told we are or based on the past and who we were. This exercise is to help you define and decide who you really are. Take some time with it. Own your good.
After writing down your answers, go through them and highlight the ones with the most meaning to you. It’ll tell you a lot about you, what’s important to you, your values, what you know, and who you really are.
And… as with any exercise I share, do it your way. There is no right or wrong. Trust your self and your wisdom. Add or change any questions or the wording in the questions to make them work for you… and enjoy your self! Mainly, just do it. You deserve to know how great you are and the world needs what you have.
To Your Success!